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SXSW Interview: Death

Live Shots

Reviewed by Thomas Fawcett, Fri., March 26, 2010

Live Shots
Photo by Gary Miller

SXSW Interview: Death

Austin Convention Center, Saturday, March 20

Props to Sarah Palin. Just as the health care debate reached a boiling point on Capitol Hill, a real live Death panel took place in Austin. Bobby and Dannis Hackney, founding members of the pioneering proto-punk trio Death along with their late baby brother David, shared the bizarre story of a band celebrated better late than never. "Coming up in Motown, you had three choices," Bobby Hackney explained of 1970s Detroit. "Either you worked in the auto industry, you were a musician, or you were a bum." The Hackneys chose a musical path, but one not often traveled by blacks. While their parents grooved to the Miracles and Supremes, the Hackney boys worshipped the Stooges and Alice Cooper. "David would get really angry when brothers told us we should play the music of our culture," Bobby recalled. "This is the music of our culture. Rock & roll belongs to everybody, but the black community wasn't trying to hear that." The band nearly inked a deal with Columbia but told Clive Davis to go to hell at the suggestion they change their name. Happily, their rare mid-1970s singles became cult favorites, leading to the 2009 release of ... For the Whole World to See.

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